Business

‘Farm reforms, job creation to be priority’

Rajiv Kumar

Rajiv Kumar  

Post polls, ‘doubling farmer income, skills mission revamp high on agenda’

Notwithstanding a comfortable victory in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh polls, the NDA government at the Centre — taking note of the BJP’s lacklustre performance in rural areas in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state as well as the development mandate in the hill state — will ‘prioritise and expedite agricultural reforms and employment generation’ initiatives from now on.

‘Reforms to continue’

“This victory, in the backdrop of concerns over demonetisation and the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax regime, is a huge shot in the arm for the reform credentials, reform resolve and reform reinforcement of the [NDA] government. Therefore, the reforms will continue,” Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog, told The Hindu.

He said, “Priority areas are likely to be the mission to ‘double the income of farmers by 2022’ as well as employment generation in sectors including housing and exports.”

Mr. Kumar added that revamping of the National Skill Development Mission and an emphasis on the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (for “promoting apprenticeship training and incentivising employers keen on engaging apprentices”) were key with regard to job creation.

In the farm sector, the plan is to ensure that farmers are not just producers but are part of the entire value chain, he said.

The government is compiling a list of all successful farm experiments in the country that have resulted in a substantial jump in the income of farmers involved in those projects, so that they can, in turn, be replicated and scaled up through about ten pilot projects.

In the exports sector, the government is studying supply-side constraints, especially the labour-intensive ones, with a view to increase employment. Meanwhile, another senior official, requesting anonymity, said “Unlike in the U.P. polls where the BJP scored a landslide victory, voters in Gujarat have given a complicated message. First it has to be analysed politically, and then only discussions will begin at a bureaucratic level for policy reform actions.”

The official added, “But, we are in a state of perpetual readiness when it comes to reforms and on any policy including on Foreign Direct Investment.”

Yet another official, also asking not to be quoted, said in the financial sector, the current priority concerns protection of the common man’s savings and the focus was hence on the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance Bill, its controversial ‘bail-in’ clause and addressing concerns over depositors’ money in case of a lender failing, as well as a proposed law at the Central level to effectively regulate chit funds and to prevent fraud.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 1:32:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/farm-reforms-job-creation-to-be-priority/article21864621.ece

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